Even though I like him as an individual, his story of service to America, and that he is a really good Democrat, I supported Reprensentative Charlie Rangel leaving long ago.
I'm not a "good government" type Democrat. I disagreed with the 2006 election strategy of Democrats to "drain the swamp" because I know many on our side do questionable ethical things and in the big scheme of things they don't matter. I think political parties should rise or fall based on ideas. Not whether there's a "culture of corruption". There always is to some extent, who are we kidding? If you really cleaned it up, no good people would serve in Washington. It's a matter of degrees, and whether people take it too far. Very few people have purely noble intentions at all times. Who is not going to try to help a relative of a wealthy supporter? Who is not going to try to do a myriad of things that keep politics moving, and keeps a diverse nation like ours working? On top of that, sometimes people just make mistakes. Some innocent, others in an effort to make or save some money. But we should be more realistic in our assessments.
Take our current Treasury Secretary Geithner, he didn't pay all of his taxes correctly. But he is an honest person. No one seriously questions that. He has worked in government all of these years, when he could have been making millions in the private sector.
We shouldn't have attacked people like Ted Stevens of Alaska or Tom Delay for ethics or other technical violations either.
If someone gets some benefit that they shouldn't have gotten, make them pay it back, pay a fine, and move on.
I felt the same about Rep. John Murtha before he passed away.
My issue is whether they are good at what they do. I don't think we should play politics with the law. I don't think we should be trying to send good public servants who didn't file the right papers or pay the taxes fully to jail. They should be punished and then we should move on.
But Democrats set this high standard. Charlie Rangel challenged the press to investigate him.
Politically, he has been and continues to be dead weight.
Rep. William Jefferson committed criminal acts and deserves jail time.
Rep. Jim Trafficant committed criminal acts and deserved the jail time he got.
Rep. Mark Foley displayed immoral behavior and violated ethics rules and should have been removed.
It's a shame that a hero like Charlie Rangel's name is listed with these kind of people.
He could have been investigated, pay all that he owed, pay a fine, and move on.
But this is politics. Our side played it, and we should live by the same rules.